Shoplifting: NJSA 2C:20-11

NJ Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting will be charged as a disorderly persons offense if the full retail value of the merchandise does not exceed $200. This is not to say that an indictable shoplifting offense cannot be downgraded. Nonetheless, anything over $200 will be forwarded to the Superior Court and treated as an indictable offense at least initially.

The penalties you will be facing for a disorderly persons shoplifting charge will depend upon the number of previous convictions and the facts of your particular case. A disorderly persons conviction carries with it up to 6 months in jail, up to $1000 fine, community service, and possible probation.

There is presumption against jail for first offenders, but some municipal court judges do sentence first offenders to jail upon conviction. Additionally, upon conviction for a first offense, the court will impose ten days of community service. If convicted, you will have a criminal record. A criminal record for shoplifting could cost you your job, your immigration status, your college career, etc. You should take every possible step to avoid a conviction for shoplifting. The most important of these steps will be to obtain experienced legal representation, and an attorney who routinely defends those charged with shoplifting offenses throughout NJ.

Upon conviction for a second offense, it is very possible that the court could impose a custodial sentence, but it is not mandated. What is required is the imposition of 15 days community service. If you have a prior conviction, I would urge you to contact my office for a free consultation. Identifying your possible defenses and holding the state to its burden of proof is paramount in enhanced penalty situations. If trial is not the best option, I can formulate an alternative defense strategy based upon the equities and negotiate with the prosecutor. As a NJ shoplifting lawyer, I understand what the court and prosecutor want to see and hear when it comes time to sit at the table. I can direct your efforts and make sure you take the right steps towards gathering “good guy” credits.

A third offense shoplifting charge is the most serious. Upon conviction, the court will sentence the defendant to a mandatory 90 day jail sentence and 25 days of community service. Don’t let this happen to you and don’t go down without a fight. An experienced municipal court lawyer on your side could mean the difference between jail and freedom, guilt or innocence, a conviction or a dismissal.

The New Jersey shoplifting statute is set forth in NJSA 2c:20-11. Please take some time to review it an call the number provided with any questions about your case.

Shoplifting shall consist of any one or more of the following acts:
(1) For any person purposely to take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the full retail value thereof.
(2) For any person purposely to conceal upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the processes, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.
(3) For any person purposely to alter, transfer or remove any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value thereof.
(4) For any person purposely to transfer any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail merchandise establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof.
(5) For any person purposely to under-ring with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.
(6) For any person purposely to remove a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart.